Little eggplants a rare delicacy selling quickly
Xiao luosu, a Songjiang-specific pocket-size eggplant, has been cultivated for more than 600 years. Records shows the occurrence of the earliest xiao luosu can be dated back to the final years of the Yuan Dynasty (1271-1368). Today, this variety of eggplant can still be spotted at wet markets in Songjiang.
Xiao luosu is available at the market from early July to the end of August. Both its bright purple color and plump shape resemble an ordinary eggplant, but its only the size of an adult’s thumb.
“The yield of xiao luosu isn’t much. They are only sold in the two months in summer. Local Songjiang people like them, but I’m not sure whether out-of-town people like them, too,” said a vegetable grower surnamed Yu who was selling the vegetable at the Xingyi wet market in Songjiang.
“If you eat them raw, you should cut their stems. You preserve them in salt for half a day, then you can eat them. Sauced xiao luosu added with soybean sauce and rocky sugar goes well with rice,” Yu said.
Songjiang-sauced xiao luosu, Sanlintang pickle of Minhang District and Chongming pickle are recommended as three pickle delicacies in Shanghai. Yu’s supply of xiao luosu, sold at 12 yuan (US$1.68) a kilogram, was soon sold out after Yu cried her goods.